Field Ecology (Biol. 423+492F) will be offered in spring on Saturdays. "This class is about as hands-on as is imaginable," says Dr. Paul Wilson, instructor in the class. "Every week we will do a project at a different field site. That way we not only gather tons of ecological data but survey many of southern Californiaís natural communities."
Biometry (Biol. 502) with lab (Biol. 595C) will be offered in the spring, taught by Dr. Steve Dudgeon. This year the course will use the widely-used, state-of-the-art statistical package, Systat 9.0 (see preceding article).
Drs. Bellinger, Caren Retire
Two long-time Biology facultyóDrs. Peter Bellinger and Linda Carenóelected to retire. Although retired, Dr. Bellinger will continue to teach on a part-time basis and devote the rest of his time to his studies of springtails, Collembola. Dr. Caren has moved with her husband to a new home in the bay area where she will be teaching at San Jose State on a part-time basis.
Cal State Northridgeís teacher-training program in Biology, inaugurated summer 1999, is now showing results among local school children. The program, funded by a $395,772 National Science Foundation grant to Dr. Steven Oppenheimer, is designed to simultaneously upgrade the understanding of science among elementary and high school teachers, and to help them teach their own students how scientists do research.
Each summer, forty specially-selected teachers learn how scientists solve problems by doing it themselves in the research labs of Biology faculty. During the school year, each then continues the study with his or her own students, thus passing on what they learned.
That the process works is evident from the activities among the students of the teacher-participants from the first summer. After working with them for a year, the teachersí own students presented the results of their investigations at a special symposium last May. Following a procedure that is standard among scientists at professional meetings, results were presented in the form of posters identifying hypotheses, results and conclusions. And, as is typical among student-authored papers at scientific meetings, the posters were judged and awards given for the best. Says Dr. Oppenheimer, "Some of the posters were as good as those seen at professional scientific societies, and clearly indicated that the students understood how to use the scientific process to solve problems."
Many of the students in the program were members of minorities typically underrepresented in the sciences and some were learning disabled. One teacher, Ms. Carol Hajdu, reported that the activity "turned my students on" to research.
The studentsí results were also published in the form of abstracts in the Journal of Student Research Abstracts. Students from other similar programs elsewhere in the nation also submitted abstracts. In all, 208 abstracts were published with 462 K-12 students as authors. Many of the studies were team efforts.
One news article had this to say of the program: "Bret-Harte Preparatory Intermediate School in South Central Los Angeles, where (Charles) Lawrence teaches, is 72 percent Latino, 28 percent Black and l00% low income with most students speaking English as a second language. ëThe students and their parents are thrilled...things like this may mean one more student going to college,í" he added.
The article also states, "A group of students at Parkman Middle School in Woodland Hills may have even found a new species of Collembola...though it may be several months before that can be verified."
Not surprisingly, many of the teacher-participants have themselves become more involved in the scientific process. Three teachersóGreg Zem, Matt Pearce and Farr Niereóco-authored posters of their own research at national scientific meetings: the Entomological Society of America in Atlanta, GA; Experimental Biology 2000 in San Diego; and the Society for Developmental Biology in Boulder, CO. Abstracts of their work were published in FASEB Journal and Developmental Biology.
Teachers in the program have been guided in their work by Drs. Larry Allen, Lisa Banner, Larry Baresi, Edward Carroll, Randy Cohen, Cathy Coyle-Thompson, Steve Dudgeon, Cheryl Hogue, Janet Kubler, Jennifer Matos, Aïda Metzenberg, Stan Metzenberg, Steven Oppenheimer, Paula Schiffman, Mary Lee Sparling, Michael Summers, Paul Tomasek, Paul Wilson and Maria Elena Zavala.
Joyce Merritt and Andra Dumitrescu, both of whom earned Masterís degrees under the guidance of Dr. Paul Tomasek, began doctoral programs this fall. Joyce was accepted to the Graduate Program in Infectious Diseases and Experimental Pathology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainsville. Andra is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at UCLA.
Melanie Salvador, a former student in the Genetic Counseling Masterís Program at CSUN, has had a poster presentation based on her thesis research accepted at the National Society of Genetic Counselors 2000 Annual Educational Conference to be held in Savannah, Georgia in November.
Two former students of Dr. Steven Oppenheimer have just received doctoral degrees. Claudia Garcia, a MARC student, received her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. Michael Daily was awarded the M.D. degree from University of Utah Medical School. Both co-authored papers with Dr. Oppenheimer as students as Cal State Northridge.
Five students from Dr. Aïda Metzenberg's lab are now pursuing advanced degrees. Two are in medical school, Nazanin Sharifi Chapman at the Oregon Health Sciences Center and Denise Smith at UC, Davis. Three are in doctoral programs: Troy Phipps and Iman Mohtashemi at USC, Karol Rostamiani at the University of Utah.
Collin Vaughan was admitted to the UC, Berkeleyís School of Optometry.
Two of Dr. Larry Allen's past Master's students, Monica Lara and Thomas
"Motz" Grothues, received their Ph.D. degrees from, respectively, the Virginia Institute for Marine Science of William and Mary College, and the State University of New York, Stony Brook.
Junie Hildebrandt, a past student who worked in Dr. Randy Cohen's lab, was accepted into the Graduate Program at UCLA School of Medicine. She will be working for her Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology.
Applications for the Masterís program in Biology are due October 15 (for spring semester admittance) or March 15 (for fall semester admittance). For a description of each faculty memberís research and the application procedures, see www.csun.edu/~bd46942.
Five Biology transfer students participated in the Raising Interest in Science & Engineering (RISE) Summer Transition Program this past summer. Maria Khurrum and Evelyn Soriano worked in Dr. Steven Oppenheimerís lab, Brandie Cross and Tina Amey-Tolliver worked with Dr. Cathy Coyle-Thompson, and Delfina Lopez worked under the guidance of Dr. Aida Metzenberg. The five students also attended a six-week workshop where they learned how to prepare and present a poster presentation and were introduced to the workings of the University and financial aid. Dr. Coyle-Thompson led the workshop.
The RISE Program is designed to encourage and support transfer students while they gain research experience in preparation for applying to graduate school. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.5 and be within two years of graduation. The program specifically targets members of underrepresented minorities majoring in one of the natural sciences, math, engineering or computer science, but any student in these majors with financial need may apply. Program participants receive a monthly stipend of $400.
Student participants remain in the program and continue to work on their research projects until they graduate. A few spaces are still available in the program. Interested transfer students who believe they might qualify are encouraged to call Ms. Belinda Acuna, Science and Math Advisement Center/EOP at 677-4558.
Last spring the annual Science Olympiad, an event that brings middle and high school students from all over Los Angeles County to participate in science-oriented competitions, was held at Cal State Northridge. The event, the first ever on a University campus, was a joint effort of the Biology Department and the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Dr. Stan Metzenberg was the principal organizer; the Provostís Council and MiniMed, Inc. were sponsors.
As a part of the Olympiad, some students attempted to answer questions about a variety of subjects related to science and technology, from herpetology and microbiology to astronomy and physics. Others participated in specific events that tested their technological skills and knowledge.
Many Biology students helped the faculty run the competitions. Among students who helped were: Kenneth Guidry, Farnaz Hassid, Bernadette Jean-Joseph, Maricela Medina, Sonia Navarro, Troy Phipps, Vincent Pureza and Saima Zubair.
Though no final decision has been made, it is likely that the event will be repeated at Cal State Northridge again this next spring.